ON OCTOBER 14, 2016, AVSI CELEBRATED 30 YEARS OF ACTIVITIES IN KENYA. AUTHORITIES, GUESTS FROM ITALY, SWITZERLAND AND UGANDA, PARTNERS, TEACHERS, PARENTS AND STUDENTS OF LITTLE PRINCE PRIMARY SCHOOL, AVSI STAFF AND FRIENDS GATHERED TO CELEBRATE THE IMPORTANT OCCASION. AVSI REPRESENTATIVE IN THE COUNTRY ANDREA BIANCHESSI OPENED THE EVENT WITH THE FOLLOWING SPEECH:
by Andrea Bianchessi, AVSI Representative in Kenya
"I would like to briefly highlight how AVSI is planning to face some key challenges in Kenya in the next years.
First of all, our approach is based on the conviction that we are living an epochal change, as Pope Francis realistically recognized, based on the many challenges the world, but also Kenya, has to face. These challenges range from the movement of migrants and refugees, radicalization and terrorist attacks, political instability in East and Central Africa with new or protracted crisis like in Somalia, South Sudan and Burundi, youth unemployment and the rapid growth of cities to the lack of basic services in many areas of the country, either in the slums or rural areas, and including a lack of electricity that is so important for education and the development of business. To this list, I would like to add as Pope Francis had pointed out during his visit to Kenya last year: tribalism, corruption, destruction of the environment and radicalization.
Yet, although there are many challenges, Kenya has a lot of opportunities: economic development, construction of infrastructure including roads and railways, deep interconnection with the global economy, the wide-spread use of mobile phones, and social capital expressed in many SACCO (save and credit cooperative). Kenya is also demonstrating leadership in the East Africa region, as Nairobi is an international and regional hub of some important UN agencies.
In front of these challenges, we have defined the next steps for AVSI in Kenya in the coming years, in partnership with all of you:
The question remains: How are we going to reach this?
Thanks, asantenisana, grazie!
On November 16th, 2016, Fiammetta Cappellini, AVSI’s Country Representative in Haiti, and Maria Elena Latini, AVSI’s Program Manager, were invited to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Community Violence Reduction (CVR) Programs for the UN Peacekeeping Missions. The celebration took place at the United Nations headquarters in New York. The CVR program is a second generation of Disarmament, Demobilization and Re-integration (DDR) programs that, in Haiti, target vulnerable populations in overpopulated and underserved urban areas. AVSI has been an implementer of the program for more than 6 years and was invited to participate in the event “Creating Space for Peace” due to its “tremendously valuable support and contribution to CVR activities in Haiti”. Thanks, in part, to the success of AVSI’s approach, CVR programs have since been implemented in other countries such as Central African Republic, Darfur and Mali.
“We brought to this event our experience and expertise and we shared our involvement in the project which concentrates on the organization and reintegration of women as a strategic solution to violence reduction efforts in the community”, said Fiammetta Cappellini.
Fiammetta is referring to the projects that AVSI has been implementing in Haiti with the objective of reducing violence and more particularly a new project that started in July 2016: “Konbit pou Pwoteksyon Fanm nan Site Soley et Matisan” implemented in the West department of Port au Prince, specifically Cité Soleil and Martissant. AVSI is supporting the Haitian State, specifically the Ministry of Women and Women's Rights (MCFDF in French) in the implementation of its policy to reduce violence against women in order to detect, prevent and respond to community violence against women. More specifically, AVSI is working to prevent and accompany 200 women and girls victimized with an approach that includes local authorities, communities, schools, families, and the men responsible for acts of violence.
For the last 25 years, DDR programs have been integral parts of post-conflict peace consolidation. The aim of interventions is to reduce the size of armed forces and gangs and reintegrate ex-combatants into society with alternative livehoods. CVR Program continues the efforts of the DDR programs, but looks at the overall community including issues like rebuilding villages and allowing ex-combatants to re-enter the social live of the community. CVR programs also involve assistance in the form of ‘distracting’ activities such as sports to focus on building a community and reaching youth at risk of joining armed gangs. Unlike DDR, CVR involves the private sector and promotes female entrepreneurship to go beyond peacemaking and to transform communities.
“The success of CVR is the combination of training, employment opportunity and psychosocial support involving the community to transform it and give peace,” said Jan Voordouw, consultant who evaluated CVR program in Haiti with MINUSTAH (the UN Mission to Haiti) during the event.
The innovation of CVR is that it expands on the military approach established with DDR and promotes a more holistic, humanitarian, and people-centered approach that is proving to be highly effective. It is also easily adaptable according to the country, context and culture where it is being implemented. The next step for CVR is its expansion as a prevention tool. It does not have to be used only in post-conflict contexts.
“CVR has the ability to transform communities, have political influence, give opportunities to change lives and overall gives peace to individuals and their community,” celebrated Edmond Mulet, UN Chef de Cabinet.
AVSI’s Community Violence Reduction project results:
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